PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (Appea) has welcomed a paper by the Climate Change Authority (CCA) highlighting the need and opportunity for sequestration in Australia.
The CCA released its policy insight paper ‘Reduce, remove and store: The role of carbon sequestration in accelerating Australia’s decarbonisation’, following estimates from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that around six-billion tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) would have to be removed per year by 2050 globally, and about 14-billion tonnes per year by 2100, for a 50% chance of limiting global warming to below 1.5 °C.
The paper contains 23 policy insights as part of a “deep dive” designed to help policymakers, emitters and markets to better understand how sequestration can be scaled up, accelerated and used responsibly. It notes further work is required to better understand just how much of Australia’s sequestration potential can be realised.
“Meeting the Paris Agreement objectives for limiting global warming is only possible with both rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions and the removal of emissions from the atmosphere. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and International Energy Agency (IEA) indicate the only technically feasible, cost-effective and socially acceptable pathways to net zero by 2050 combine ambitious emissions reductions with CO2 removals at far greater scale than at present,” CCA CEO Brad Archer said.
“The Authority’s report highlights that more work is required to map and understand just how much of Australia’s sequestration potential can be realised,” said Archer.
“While reducing emissions at source is critical, the extent of the climate challenge means there must be effort directed to sequestration. We need to use all the tools in the toolkit. That includes developing a carefully designed portfolio of approaches, as no single technology can achieve the levels of sequestration likely to be needed.”
The paper considers a range of carbon sequestration approaches, including nature-based solutions, but emphasises that the “government should prioritise the development of long-lived geological and mineral storage technologies”, primarily carbon capture, use and storage (CCUS).
Appea CEO Samantha McCulloch said that carbon capture was widely recognised as critical to protecting the environment and getting to net zero while creating new economic opportunities. The oil and gas industry supports the CCA’s calls for greater direction and support for this technology.
“CCUS is backed by authorities such as the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), the IEA and the IPCC as critical to reaching net zero.
“The recent Safeguard Mechanism policy has only strengthened the case for a greater focus on carbon capture to reduce emissions.”
In its recent 2023/4 Federal Budget submission, the oil and gas industry called for a national CCUS roadmap to provide clear policy direction, progress carbon management hubs and promote Australia as a regional CO2 storage leader.
“Australia has an opportunity to not only accelerate to net zero but also create a new industry and ride the wave of global momentum for CCUS, with around 300 commercial projects in development,” McCulloch said.
“But government leadership is critical. governments around the world are rapidly increasing their support for CCUS, with the Inflation Reduction Act in the US a game changer providing significant financial incentives for large-scale deployment of the technology.”